Bored Apes Are Playing At My Yacht Club
If it seems like there’s a little more vape smoke in the air in Manhattan right now that’s because it’s NFT NYC, baby, one of the bigger events for NFT investors in the country. Even though the entire crypto market is in the toilet and Web3 startups are imploding left and right, JPG collectors from all over the country have crawled out of their various Twitter group DMs to amble about lower Manhattan, drinking over-priced craft beer, and, apparently, scanning random QR codes that hijack their phones and drain their crypto wallets.
The biggest headline out of NFT NYC so far was that LCD Soundsystem played a Bored Ape Yacht Club party at Pier 17 on Monday. The party was called ApeFest and here’s an exceptionally grim video of what it looked like.
From what I can tell from this video, there are four kinds of men that attend a Bored Ape Yacht Club party: hedge fund interns that roleplay as hypebeasts on the weekends, men who have absolutely paid for pickup artist classes, that very specific kind of guy who has a ponytail and more than one pet lizard, and, apparently, out-of-work magicians.
Videos of LCD Soundsystem’s ApeFest performance are being shared all over Twitter right now and the general consensus is: where are the women? It’s question that was also literally asked on the r/Cryptocurrency subreddit last night, as well.
Excellent stuff. If you’re curious the top comment is, “I'm a woman. I lurk. Less drama and cringe behavior when everyone thinks I'm a guy.” Very cool.
I’m not at NFT NYC this year (gotta space out my irl exposure to this stuff), but I will say that the parties I attended at Bitcoin Miami seemed to have a better mix of men and women, though, not by much. Weirdly, there were a lot more families and married couples. The whole thing had more of a south Florida boat show vibe, which I think is an easier fit than the NFT evangelists who are trying to recreate Art Basel with a bunch of bankers.
But, snark aside, NFT NYC comes this year at a pivotal moment for this whole scene. Last year, it almost seemed like NFTs could become something. It wasn’t clear what, but the frenzy around them was strong enough that even I was assuming that someone would be able to do something with all that energy. Obviously, these kinds of trends have long and strange lives, but so far, as Web3 isn’t looking so hot. One write up of NFT NYC predicted the event would be a “huge cry fest”. If you want to catch up on all of the crazy stuff that’s come and gone during this last boom cycle, here’s a good thread.
What’s also interesting about this year’s NFT NYC is it might be the last one before the Ethereum merge. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, in August 2022, Ethereum is meant to move from a proof-of-work mining algorithm to a proof-of-stake algorithm. I will spare you the technicals, but what you need to know is that proof-of-work is the one that uses increasingly larger and larger amounts of energy for mining new coins and proof-of-stake doesn’t. The merge, as it’s commonly referred to, has been pushed back at least six times now and become a huge punchline. But, a trial merge seems imminent and it’s possible it might actually happen.
The hope among many, including Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin, is that a more energy efficient Ethereum is what can take Web3 to place where it’s better equipped for mass adoption. Coindesk, however, has already started telling its readers to sell the merge. And one Bitcoin miner in Miami told me with frightening calm that cryptocurrencies’ worth should be totally dependent on energy consumption and any attempts at making them more environmentally friendly would ruin their value. It was a deeply unsettling conversation that I’m still trying to process, but I assume many crypto miners feel the same way.
Even if Ethereum does merge this fall and it doesn’t kill the entire NFT market, there is still the essential problem that has plagued NFTs since the very beginning: Their core value is completely overshadowed by the secondary market.
I’ve read about a bunch of different use cases for NFTs — party passes, hotel reservations, concert tickets, video game earnables — and in every instance the only thing an NFT version of that specific product would accomplish is a wildly unstable and inflationary secondary market. The guys at NFT NYC this week basically want a world run that’s run entirely on eBay. They think that they can all become Jordan Belfort by adding unregulated bidding wars to everything we buy online. They see themselves as savvy enough investors that in a world of constant digital price gouging that they could still come out on top. And they see NFTs as a literal ticket to an exclusive club of culture and wealth. Coolness on auction. And, yet, they can’t even make a private LCD Soundsystem concert in New York look like a fun time. I mean, c’mon.
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New meeeerrrchhhhhhh. This incredible design was created by Gabby Kash. The shirts come in black and white and you can pick them up over at the Garbage Day store. I think they’re extremely cool and very relatable!!
The “Alt” “Left”
When I originally pitched a story to Fast Company about the recent implosion of an odd anime-themed NFT line called Milady Maker I sort of assumed it would just be a fairly simple story of an NFT project gone awry. What I didn’t realize was that it was part of a much larger artistic and political movement, one I had seen referred to as the “alt-left Dimes Square scene,” which I don’t think is either “alt” or “left” tbh.
NFT designers, reactionary podcasters, and Twitter trolls have aligned themselves with a federated online platform developed by neoreactionary blogger Curtis Yarvin and funded by Peter Thiel. They believe that memes are magic and shitposting is performance art and they all seem to love anime and fascist occultism. The rabbit hole I fell down during the reporting of this piece was bizarre, even for me. It’s one of the longer features I’ve written in a while and I think Garbage Day readers will really like it. You can read the whole thing here.
A Fun New A.I. Twist
Tumblr user spiderbasil drew a comic of the lead singer of My Chemical Romance Gerard Way having coffee with cartoonist Alison Bechdel, creator of the “Bechdel Test”. You can read the whole comic here. It’s short and very cute. What’s amazing about this comic is that, while it was drawn by a human, it was “written” by an A.I.
As spiderbasil explains in another post, Tumblr user yourdyingwish gave the GPT-3 A.I. a prompt of “write an Alison Bechdel lesiban comic strip about Gerard Way” and the conversation in spiderbasil’s comic is what the A.I. spit out. There was some editing of the punchline by spiderbasil, but it’s pretty close to what the A.I. wrote.
I’ve been wondering when this flip would happen and this one of the cooler instances I’ve come across. Right now, most people are giving inputs to an A.I. and seeing what it comes up with, but spiderbasil’s comic is something different. A human gave a prompt to an A.I., which then created a loose script, which was then edited and illustrated by another human. It’s weird and cool and, like all good internet collaborations, involves My Chemical Romance.
r/TumblrInAction Was Finally Banned
One of the longest running hate subreddits, r/TumblrInAction, was banned this week. If you had never come across it before, it functioned similar to Libs Of TikTok, screenshotting Tumblr interactions that made progressives look cringy or bad. I’ve followed it for many years and while I don’t think it was ever as active as r/KotakuInAction, it was nasty in its own right.
The official line for why it was banned was that it broke Reddit’s rules against the promotion of hate, but it’s unclear what exactly was the last straw. Over in r/SubredditDrama, the speculation is that the subreddit was engaged in targeted harassment this week. But blogger and bad internet man expert David Futrelle suspects it was due to the fact that subreddit filled up with TERFs after the Gender Critical subreddit was recently banned for hate speech.
Paying A Company $15,000 For A Thing You Delete Is Not A Protest
A New Zealand-based streamer named Quin69 recently paid over $15,000 for a rare item in the new Diablo Immortal and then deleted it and uninstalled the game “in protest”. Earlier this month, players started complaining about the wildly predatory DLC features of the new Diablo game, with many saying they would boycott it. Though, according to AppMagic, the game has made outrageous amounts of money.
Anyways, like I said, I don’t think it’s much of protest when you buy an insanely expensive item from a company and then destroy. Sort of defeats the whole point, right?
Hot Dr Pepper 2
Great recipe for hot Dr Pepper. Excited to try this!!
Some Stray Links
P.S. here’s a good DALL-E generation.
***Any typos in this email are on purpose actually***
“…men who have absolutely paid for pickup artist classes, that very specific kind of guy who has a ponytail and more than one pet lizard, and, apparently, out-of-work magicians.“
New reader, love your thoughts! Was pondering your question about the future usecase for blockchain, ala how RSS feeds became the prime way of delivering podcasts, and stumbled across a seed of an idea: is there some way of using blockchain as a way of authenticating timestamps on viral images? I feel like one of the issues with jpegs is there’s no way of knowing how up-to-date or old a picture actually is; while blockchain isn’t the best way using resources, the fact that you can’t remove that metadata seems useful. Not sure if it’s something that actually works, but I figure it’d be nice to have at least one useful blockchain application to argue about!